Magazine article Management Today

Cutting Room: Welcome to the Year of the Eurozone; Will Pizza Express Fall Flat?; the Qatar Conundrum; Where Have All the Business People Gone?

Magazine article Management Today

Cutting Room: Welcome to the Year of the Eurozone; Will Pizza Express Fall Flat?; the Qatar Conundrum; Where Have All the Business People Gone?

Article excerpt

What? Another year over already? For anyone who has missed the past 12 months, here is my potted guide to the global economy: slowdown is when small companies go broke; recession is when big companies go broke; depression is when banks go broke and catastrophe is when governments go broke. On this basis, Europe has had a slowdown, America a recession, Japan a depression and Argentina a catastrophe. That more or less says it all about 2001.

Exactly one year ago, I wrote in MT that 2001 'may be the year where the US economy turns down and bad news there begins to make headlines'. No-one predicted the terror attacks, but you didn't have to be a genius to see the economic problems coming (even if most US economists registered them only after 11 September). It is note worthy that the recession has now been 'officially' dated from March.

But the big surprise of 2001 was the slowdown in the eurozone (and recession in Germany). I've been predicting a European economic revival for about two years; yet those dastardly continentals disappoint at every opportunity. Surely in 2002 they can actually outpace our now low expectations? Let me make that a prediction for 2002. Third time lucky.

Another prediction for the next 12 months: things will start to look bad at Pizza Express. I'm a great fan of this restaurant. In fact, I live above a Pizza Express, and on warm summer evenings on my roof terrace I can enjoy the aroma of a Fiorentina wafting up from below without paying a penny.

I would even recommend membership of the Pizza Express Club, which gives you several free pizzas a year, a birthday voucher and other perks for an annual subscription well below that of the Groucho or Garrick. Moreover, when I was in Qatar for a week recently the existence of a Pizza Express in the local shopping centre - complete with the menu familiar from home - provided fond memories of Blighty.

But it seems to me the chain has expanded too far. You can barely walk a mile now without encountering one. That famous menu is becoming a tad too familiar. And I've started to notice an ominous faint groan from friends when one suggests a quick bite there after a movie.

Pizza Express has that Body Shop, Tie Rack, Sock Shop over expansion written all over it. …

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